"Overall I highly recommend "The House of Baric Part One: Shields Down" by Jillian Bald. The book has something for everyone: romance, drama, history, action and adventure, and the brilliant engaging storytelling ability of the author will have you soon craving the next installment in the series. Excellent read." - Reader View
Published: May 2018
The House of Baric is a story about . . .
~ soldiers in and out of war, their friendships and their struggles to come to terms with their dutiful roles in life.
~ a mismatched young Ottoman woman sent into this Venetian world in 1648 to marry a stranger.
~ a clash of cultures; a clash of sexes.
~ everyday, and not so everyday, happenings in the lives behind the walls of The House of Baric.
Most of all, it is a love story--Mauro and Resi’s.
Set in the Venetian Empire's colony of Croatia in the decadent baroque era, this first novel in the trilogy is a fast-paced read with many colorful characters and promising romances. Open the pages of "Shields Down" and enter the House of Baric.
"Part One: Shields Down" introduces you to the young nobleman, Mauritius "Mauro" Baric. Mauro was the last of his family bloodline. With the sudden death of his father, Mauro unhappily took his title as Baron Baric. His first duty in this new role was to marry and make an heir.
Resi Kokkinos was not interested in marrying an aristocrat any more than Mauro wanted a common, Ottoman Greek girl as his bride. Betrothed as children to settle Resi’s father’s debt to the Barics, the two had no choice in their paired future together.
After the long war brought Mauro and his soldiers home for good, the mismatched lovers could no longer deny their arrangement was more than tolerable.
The Baric’s story takes flight after the couple’s first wedding anniversary. Unexpected visitors arrive at the castle and add a new dimension to their predictable lives in Solgrad. Cultures will clash, and sexes will too. Mishaps and adventures are a certainty for Mauro and Resi as their saga unfolds over the three parts of the trilogy.
Journey along with the Barics, their soldiers, servants and friends during one pivotal summer in 1649. Can they avoid their allotted fates hiding behind the high Baric walls? In part one of this engaging trilogy, you will discover, as they do, that it is not so easy.
Praise for The House of Baric Part One: Shields Down:
"The series starts off in the summer of 1649 and pulls the reader immediately into the complex and colorful world of Venice at the zenith of its power. Bald's period research is everywhere evident ... This is a delightful series." - Historical Novel Society Book Review
"The House of Baric has all the makings of a great read; romance, action, mystery, and even a little comedy." - Boundless Book Review
The change of pace woke the sleeping women, and Jero and Ruby caught up to the wagon. Most of the two-lane road until now had been densely lined with hardy pines, low scrubby oak, and wild olive trees. Ahead of them was a full view of the Adriatic Sea. Its azure expanses sparkled with the late-morning light streaming down. The gentle tide was a lighter blue, almost green, against the pebbly sand shore of the sheltered lagoon. It was a calm day with only a light wind, and they could hear the hungry cries of seabirds still fishing for their morning meals. Resi sat up and broke the silence of the group. “That was not so far, Mauro. Have I been sleeping long?”
“I would say you were sleeping almost two hours. My arm is about numb from you leaning on it.” She sat up completely, now self-conscious. He reassured her, “I will be your pillow any day, Resi. You were tired and needed the nap, so I dared not move you.”
He maneuvered the wagon through the narrow path between the overgrown tree bows. He stopped at the end of the track just moments later and hopped down, holding the reins to tie to one of the long overhangs.
The women sat up in the back of the wagon and looked out at the view onto the sea. Fabian pulled alongside them and dismounted, loosely tying his horse to a narrow tree trunk. “Oh, Mauro, this is a beautiful spot. Where are we?” Resi asked.
“This is Neven Leopold’s beach. He does not have the fields for crops on his land that I do, but he has a very accessible coastline. This is where his family spends their leisure time; at least they did when I was younger,” Mauro explained.
He took his wife by the waist and lifted her down from her seat. She walked in front of the two horses, admiring the view. She saw the path leading down to the beach and small dock, and without a word, she disappeared over the low hill to the water like a happy child. From the beach she shouted back, “There is a small sailboat, Mauro. This will be a perfect outing.” He did not feel the same joy for sailing that she did, but he smiled at her genuine delight.
Fabian took charge of unloading the quiet cargo from the back of the wagon. The women were stiff from their uncomfortable sleeping positions. They crouched awkwardly now while they waited to be lowered onto the soft, sandy ground.
“Are you pleased with yourself?” Isabella asked Fabian after he set her down. She had allowed him to lift her this time, since her long skirts made it too hard to find her footing.
Fabian still held her by the waist, but was not smiling this time. He told her in a quiet voice, “You should try to enjoy the excursion offered you, Isabella. The sun is shining, there is good food packed for our lunch, and you will have shelter to sleep under. It is not the opera, but Lady Terese finds this outing to be a luxury. Do not insult her with your negative opinions today.” Then he released her and turned to help his sister down.
About the author:
Jillian Bald lives surrounded by spectacular mountains in Oregon with her longtime partner in life, now and then with her grown boys, and always with her faithful lap dog--her partner in writing.